Wednesday, June 29, 2005
THE END OF THIS REGIME OF LIES AND NEGLECT HAS DAWNED -NUSP
“Now that the President has confirmed her gross impropriety in front of a national audience, a resignation, if at all, an ouster from power is a fitting retribution by the Filipino people for this regime’s unprincipled trampling of the very core of democracy in the past presidential elections.” This is the statement of National Union of Students of the Philippines Deputy Vice-President for Luzon Terry Ridon as President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo finally admitted to the Filipino people that she conversed with a Comelec official during the counting of the election ballots.
“With her admission of guilt, she herself has willingly placed the last nail on her floundering regime’s coffin – this mea culpa is too late for the people to stomach, especially on us students,” says Ridon. This is the reaction of the NUSP on the President’s insinuations that her economic and fiscal agenda are meant to benefit the education of the youth.
“Her motherhood statements on education alongside the low-intensity VAT propaganda on the youth are as false as her dramatics on television. This regime is notorious for causing the biggest budget cut in the history of the University of the Philippines (P357 M) and the continuing neglect of Philippine education through annual decreases in the overall education budget while diverted to enormous appropriations for foreign debt servicing and military spending,” asserts Ridon.
“Her own admission of guilt moves us not into sympathy for her regime but a strengthened and renewed resolve to further broaden the intensifying student alliance against this sham government,” explains Ridon as close to two thousand youth and students joined the overwhelming mass action against the President last June 24, vowing more warm bodies in the upcoming mass mobilizations as a result of the snowballing political crisis.
“The President’s woes will never be over,” Ridon finally asserts, “not until the time comes that she and her lapdogs finally realize that it is them who are the real economic saboteurs and enemies of the students and the people.”
The NUSP will continue broadening the student alliance against this government through fora on the current political crisis and Hello Garci listening sessions in numerous colleges and universities nationwide, and mass actions in the coming weeks until the President resigns or is ousted from power.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
WITH THE PEOPLE, THE STUDENTS WILL OUST YOU SOON -NUSP
“Stonewalling the Gloriagate investigation and resorting to procedural delaying tactics are making the majority congressmen look like buffoons in the eyes of the youth and accomplices in this regime’s suppression of truth.” This is the statement of National Union of Students of the Philippines Deputy Vice-President for Luzon Terry Ridon as the House of Representatives ended another disappointing day of useless banter on rules and legal gobbledygook by the congressional apologists of the president.
Save for the surprising submission of the Paguia tapes to the Congress secretary, nothing substantial has come out of the congressional hearing with Secretary Ignacio Bunye further exposing the regime’s ineptness in confronting a raging national issue before the people. “The regime is using all the tricks in their Book of Lies and Psy-War,” says Ridon, “But they are running out of time.”
As a desperate attempt to contain the snowballing controversy, the regime has unleashed cunning intelligence agents to several campuses of the University of the Philippines to collect information on upcoming plans of student councils to further broaden the student alliance against the regime. “Is the President that paranoid and panicky,” explains Ridon, “that even legitimate student councils are now being monitored by the ISAFP?”
The University Student Council of UP Diliman was recently visited by government agents inquiring about scheduled activities related to the scandal. They were rebuffed by the council members. More so, an intelligence agent pretending to be an emissary from a foreign embassy foolishly queried a group of students regarding the schedule of the Hello Garci listening session of the College of Arts and Sciences Student Council of UP Manila for its freshmen. He was immediately brushed aside by the wary Iskolars ng Bayan.
“The regime is creating a climate of fear among the students,” laments Ridon, as large groups of policemen are reportedly being allowed to come and go inside the premises of the Office of the University Registrar in UP Manila along Padre Faura.
As such, there is no better time than now for the students to demand the President of the Republic to cease keeping silent lest be found guilty by the people. “If she does not speak soon, she will have convinced us that she has trampled the very core of democracy – reducing the elections as a private game of the ruling elite,” asserts Ridon.
If she remains heedless of this demand, “Resign or be ousted from your ivory tower,” Ridon finally asserts, “as the students and youth are ever ready to link arms with the people to kick you out of Malacanang for good.”
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
MADAM, THE STUDENTS ARE WATCHING YOU - NUSP
“Students will serve as critical watchdogs in the legislative inquiry on the GMA-Garcillano audio tape.” This is the statement of National Union of Students of the Philippines Deputy Vice-President for Luzon Terry Ridon as the House of Representatives convenes to shed light on the alleged wiretapped conversations implicating President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo as an active participant of the massive and systematic efforts to rig the presidential elections in her favor.
This is an affair that concerns us all as stakeholders of this controversy being contested by various political groups. Youth groups are one of the largest constituencies in the last EDSA uprising that indirectly installed Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo. “Instead of genuine reforms, we have got more rabid forms of graft and corruption and intensifying government neglect amidst this fraudulent and scandal-ridden regime notwithstanding the continuing disregard for education and other basic social services.
“There can never be any stability in our political life as long as fundamental questions raised by these tapes are not concretely addressed. As her silence becomes more deafening by the day, the youth’s verdict on her regime is continually taking shape, Ridon further explains.
Yet, the youth and the students are being co-opted by the government through groups such as the Y-PAD formation which visits schools and universities, preaching against the alleged destablizers such as activists and the opposition. However, these so-called destabilization efforts are but a sustained campaign for meaningful reforms in public governance and economic policies.
But co-opting the youth towards ignorance and pacification is more devious than brushing off the audio tape issue altogether. “No amount of sugarcoated publicity statements, legal gobbledygook and fascist measures can put off the people’s demand to know.
For its part, The National Union of Student of the Philippines will lead the call on the youth to guard this congressional inquiry and will conduct sustained mass actions, listening sessions, educational discussions and audio tape distributions in coordination with the people’s quest for the truth.
“We call on the president to speak on the issues before her lest be deemed guilty by the people,” Ridon finally asserts.
Unless the president gives her side on the issues, the political tension will continue snowballing into further unrest and lead the people in turning the streets into a blazing arena of protest and dissent.
Monday, June 13, 2005
STUDENTS UNITE! OUST THE ANTI-STUDENT GMA REGIME!
The daily jueteng scandal revelations and the snowballing audio tape controversy have caused a massive outrage among the people on a corrupt and fraudulent regime experiencing a record negative satisfaction rating way below than any Philippine president since the restoration of democracy in 1986.
But these two scandals are mere tips of the iceberg, Ramirez adds, on why Filipino students are aggressively struggling for her ouster. Apart for her great disregard for the student sector through crippling annual budget cuts of state colleges and universities, she should be held liable for the intensified political repression of student activists in the cities and the provinces.
On the opening of classes last June 6, militant students and community youth staged a mass action in Mendiola to protest the regime’s commercialized and repressive educational policies such as the tuition deregulating Education Act of 1982. But true to its fascist tradition, Ramirez laments, the WPD anti-riot police led by a certain Col. Miranda greeted the flag and poster-wielding students with truncheons and shields, mauling at least four students and a public school teacher.
Meanwhile, the Eastern Visayas chapter of the NUSP is allegedly being harassed by military elements under the command of Maj. General Jovito Palparan as part of his reign of terror in the province which has illegally detained, tortured and murdered hundreds of innocent civilians including the assassinations of UCCP Pastor Rev. Edison Lapuz and Atty. Felidito Dacut, both prominent human rights advocates in the region.
As such, Ramirez stresses, GMA should be criminally charged for employing unconstitutional prior restraints on legitimate student assemblies through its all-too frequent no permit-no rally policy and for ordering an intensive counter-insurgency campaign by rabid fascists such as Maj. Gen. Palparan implicitly targeted at legal human rights and student organizations such as KARAPATAN-EV and NUSP-EV, respectively, to intensify political repression on a national scale.
Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo has utterly exposed her anti-people and anti-student bias for the past four and a half years. The Filipino youth and students are already restive and impatient for a shift in educational policies albeit a change in government.
With creeping political repression and fundamental economic collapse amidst a tense political situation, the Filipino student will now have reached a breaking point. The ebb of dissent is over and the students and the youth are ready to topple a regime that has never earned the trust and confidence of the people.
Along with other oppressed sectors and democratic forces, the Filipino students and the youth will again troop to the streets as they did for the past two EDSAs – to claim political power that rightfully belongs to the people, Ramirez finally asserts.
NATIONWIDE TFI MORATORIUM URGED - NUSP
“Like the jueteng scandal, higher education in the country has become a high-stakes affair,” says NUSP Deputy Secretary General JPaul Manzanilla, “in which Filipino students will again have lost the biggest gamble of their lives due to insurmountable tuition and other fee increases in the coming school year.”
In the National Capital Region, where most colleges and universities are located, the tuition fee per unit reaches an expensive average of 722.41PhP/unit in which 65 out of 244 higher educational institutions (HEI) or 26.64% applied for tuition fee increases, according to the Commission on Higher Education, notwithstanding the unregulated skyrocketing of dubious miscellaneous and other fees such as development fees, energy fees etc.
Manzanilla laments that though Malacanang froze tuition fee hikes in state colleges and universities (SCUs), the current national average of 353.03 pesos per unit of tuition in private universities is still a far cry from the double-digit tuition fee per unit of SCUs to be an affordable, accessible and quality alternative to Filipino students.
This is too much for a minimum wage earning family that receives less than 66,000 pesos a year, in which half is spent on a college education with bleak prospects in the light of double-digit unemployment rates and high levels of underemployment across the country.
As tuition fees rise inexorably high and with a college dropout rate of 73 percent based on the Wallace report on higher education, the Commission on Higher Education seems to have come up only with a band-aid solution to the education woes of the Filipino student with its CHED Memorandum No.14 seeking to put a tuition cap based on the rate of inflation. “It only serves to institutionalize the unmitigated control of HEIs in raising tuition fees based on their whims and caprices, without the need for genuine student consultations,” he explains further.
According to a recent UP study on education, no direct correlation exists between high tuition fees and the quality of education, as evidenced by 115 HEIs given phase-out orders by the CHED due to very poor passing marks (below 5 percent passing rates) in various licensure examinations for five consecutive years (1997-2001). In that span of time, 35 HEIs got zero-passing rates in Accountancy licensure examinations along with other schools averaging a measly 18.4 percent passing rate.
As such, the National Union of Students of the Philippines is urging Malacanang to declare a moratorium on tuition and other fee increases in all colleges and universities nationwide because increases in tuition and other fees of any kind and at any rate can never be justified nor be acceptable in the eyes of the Filipino students in the wake of a snowballing economic crisis as a result of crippling price increases, fiscal uncertainties and greater economic disparity.
Manzanilla finally asserts that it is the constitutional duty of the state that the right to education is ensured and ceases to be a pipe dream built on the relentless urge of capitalist-educators for superprofits, making milking cows out of the students and their families.
If this demand continues falling on deaf ears, it is absolutely certain that the students and the youth will struggle forward and continue their fight for their right to education, linking arms with the people in advancing their democratic rights and aspirations.
Thursday, June 02, 2005
Summer Travels: Pakikibakang Masa ang Kailangan
Ang kalagayan ng mga magsasaka, manggagawang bukid at mamamayan ng bayan ng Victoria, Laguna ay kalagayan ng malawak na hanay ng sambayanan sa kanayunan ng bansa. Talamak ang kawalan ng lupa ng magsasaka at nakakonsentra lamang ang pag-aari nito sa iilang mga panginoong maylupang taga-bayan o mga dayo na siyang nagtatakda ng lokal na ekonomiya, pulitika at kultura ng bayan. Katulad sa ibang pook ng kapuluan, litaw na litaw ang mala-pyudal at mala-kolonyal na moda ng produksiyon ng lipunang Pilipino na pinaiigting ng iba’tibang anyo at antas ng pinagsanib na puwersa ng imperyalismo, pyudalismo at burukrata-kapitalismo. Patuloy na sinasagkaan nito ang pambansa at demokratikong interes ng mamamayan lalo na sa partikular na karanasan ng Victoria, Laguna.
Ganunpaman, hindi dapat maging hadlang ito upang igiit ng mga magsasaka sa Victoria ang kanilang batayang mga karapatan. Ang unang hakbang tungo rito ay ang pagbubuo ng mga organisasyong masa ng mga magsasaka sa bawat lokalidad na dulo ay ang pagkakaroon ng pambayang organisasyon ng magsasakang nakakawing sa simulain at layunin ng pambansa-demokratikong kilusan. Sa minimum, mahalagang magkaisa ang mga magsasaka, sa pamamagitan ng pag-aaral at propaganda, na igiit ang mga batayang tindig ng militanteng kilusang magbubukid katulad ng: pagbasura sa CARP, pagtatakda ng 15piso kada kilo ng palay, pagbaba ng renta sa lupa at usura atbp. Sa maximum, igiit ang kawastuhan ng pagkakaroon ng tunay na repormang agraryo at pambansang industriyalisasyon. Subalit hindi ito maisasakatuparan sa isang malapyudal at malakolonyal na lipunan sa pag-asa lamang sa estado ng maliliit na reporma.
Kailangang pang paigtingin at itaas ng mga magsasaka ang antas ng kanilang kamulatan at pakikibaka mula sa simpleng kampanya at pakikibakang masa upang mapagpasiyang durugin ang tanikalang nang-aapi at nagsasamantala sa kanilang uri sa loob ng ilang daan taon at salinlahi.
Summer Travels: Nananatiling Katutubong Pyudalismo
Summer Travels: Pagpapalit-Gamit ng Lupa
Mangagawang Bukid – Kalunos-lunos na Saray ng Magsasaka
Usura – Katambal na Pasakit ng Renta sa Lupa
Isa ring porma ng usura ang ginagawa ng mga nagpapatakbo ng tanyag kunong kooperatiba ng San Benito. Katulad din ng bangko, hindi maaaring humiram ang mahirap na magsasaka kung wala siyang kolateral na maibibigay at madalas ang kanyang inani ang kanyang ginagamit. Sa aktwal, hindi rin naman talaga makakuha ng makataong kasunduan ang mahirap na magsasaka sa kooperatiba kung hindi sila malapit na kaibigan o kamag-anak ng pamunuan ng kooperatiba. Mula nang magsimula ito ilang taon nang nakalipas, hindi pa rin nakakautang si Ka Baste sa kooperatibang ito bagamat nag-aabot siya at mga katulad niyang mahihirap na magsasaka ng kakarampot niyang kinikita mula sa palay. Sa kooperatiba rin magbabayad kung nais ng magsasakang makagamit ng irigasyon ng donasyon kuno ng gobyernong Hapones para sa mga magsasaka ng San Benito sa pamamagitan ng DAR, subalit kailangang magbayad ng magsasaka ng 1,700 kada ektaryang lupa kada anihan upang magamit ang irigasyon sa San Benito. Kung 5 ektarya ang lupa, saan naman kukuha ng 8500 piso ang mahirap na magsasaka? Makahihiram naman daw sa kooperatiba basta hatian ito ng aanihing palay ng magsasaka at babayaran nang buo ang hihiramin pera. Kaya maraming mahihirap na magsasaka ang hindi na nagbabayad para sa irigasyon at tumatangkilik sa kooperatiba sapagkat malinaw sa kanila na ibabaon lamang sila sa utang ng mga ito. Sa kabilang banda naman, pabagsak din ang produktibidad ng mga mahihirap na magsasaka dahil umaasa lamang sila sa pag-ulan. Sa madaling sabi, ang usura at kooperatiba ay mga sandatang pyudal at mala-pyudal upang patuloy na itali ang magsasaka sa lupa at manataling nagdarahop ang kabuhayan.